Red lentils with curry leaf and mustard seed 'tadka'

As the name suggests, you can use whatever greens are in season—kale, cabbage, beetroot greens and red chard all work well in the dish. Just remember to add the hard bits first and cook longer, then add the softer leaves last and remove from the heat as soon as they wilt.

Serves 4-6

  • 175g red lentils washed in running water
  • 700 ml water
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric


  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 whole dried red chilli broken in 2-3 pcs
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped green coriander ( optional)


Boil the lentils in a sauce pan with water salt and turmeric for around 25-30 minutes or until thoroughly cooked and disintegrated.
In a small ladle or pan, heat oil until smoking point, add chillies, mustard seeds and curry leaves and allow to crackle or pop for 3o seconds or so, then add garlic and fry until golden. This is the tempering. Tip it into the pan with boiled lentils, cover and leave to absorb flavours for 2 minutes, remove lid, add chopped coriander , check seasoning and serve immediately. Can be served as an accompaniment to a main meal or as a soup.